Monday, March 28, 2016

I Think I Just Scared Myself

There I was, minding my own business, going through old Dropbox files, when I stumbled on something I wrote last year that I barely remember writing.  Clearly, it’s the beginning of a short story, and clearly the genre is Horror/Suspense (though I rarely delve into this genre).  But the font is italicized and from the POV of a very minor character, which means it’s part of what I had intended to be a much larger piece.  What that piece was, I couldn’t tell you.

But reading it kind of scared me. It’s darker than I usually write, and more implicitly violent than I’m usually comfortable. The dates on the file indicate that I wrote it during the day whilst working at Al Jazeera America. (That may explain more about it than I am prepared to acknowledge.)

I thought I’d share it, since I have little inclination at the moment to continue the piece. But maybe we should con-fab on this. Is it suspense thriller? Is it supernatural? Is it apocalyptic?

(Editor’s note: I promise you, at no time, in the history of anything, no matter how dark life was, was there ever going to be a zombie in this story. ~AS~)

Here’s the first few paragraphs of a lost little story, found today in Dropbox:
Mrs. Kennedy moves gingerly around the detritus scattered from one end of the hall to the other. 
She’s older now, and her once-keen night vision isn’t what it used to be. But there is some light, a little, from the half-moon just outside the living room window, beaming down the hall. Mrs. Kennedy can make out the sheen on the polished marble of the hall, and the glints of broken light flitting off the shards of shattered glass, and a perfect little reflection of the arched living room window, reflected in the red-black, spreading pool of fresh blood pouring from Lorna’s mortal wound.

The curls of fragrant smoke issue forth from the incense pot on the mantel, the twirling white vines of vaporous lavender and chamomile creating an aura of false serenity. Incense, so pleasing to Lorna, has always confused Mrs. Kennedy. Smoke is a sign of something bad in a cat’s world – even when it is sweet-smelling and sanguine. To create it intentionally seems dangerous.
Mrs. Kennedy navigates the impromptu obstacle course, and comes to a stop at Lorna’s body, sniffing the bloody hand that rests just above Lorna’s head. Mrs. Kennedy switches her tail, and flares her nostrils as the smell of fresh blood inflames her senses, calling on something wild and feral that no amount of domestication has ever been able to remove from cats. Her burlap tongue darts from her mouth and collects a single drop of Lorna’s blood – just enough for Mrs. Kennedy to assess that Lorna is very freshly dead. 
As she reaches this conclusion, Mrs. Kennedy spots the shadow in the corner, and in an instant, she fluffs her fur on end, arches her back, and releases a long, dark, guttural growl.

And there it is. Or isn’t. As the case may be. What was I thinking? Where was my head at? Was I really this dark at AJAM? Who knows? What’s this story about? Help me out here. Maybe we can resurrect it, with some good ideas (Let me reiterate - NO FUCKING ZOMBIES!) and some mutual brainstorming.

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